5 things you only know if you’re Head of Operations at Action Against Hunger UK
Mar 9 2018
To Mark International Women's day 2018 we are sharing the inspiring stories of women who work for us and are affected by our work
Juliet oversees a busy department made up of four teams: two focusing on funding and influencing relationships with the British Government; and two teams covering nutrition and monitoring and evaluation. Juliet spends the majority of her time working with the Action Against Hunger global network and the wider humanitarian sector to make sure we are engaging in the best possible way to shape and influence work being done and we are positioned to contribute in the best ways possible.
1. What inspired you to join the humanitarian sector?
I’ve always wanted to work in a job that helped people. When I discovered the humanitarian sector and its principles of supporting the most vulnerable people in the world, combined my desire to do something useful with the excitement of working in some of the most interesting and challenging parts of the world.
2. What is it like to be a woman working in this sector?
When working with humanitarian programmes, it is clear that being a woman gives you access to conversations and information that would not be available to you as a man. Talking to other women about their needs, opinions and experiences was a huge honor and a real tangible benefit to being a woman working in the sector. Senior management in the sector remains male-dominated, based upon the many sector meetings that I have attended. I strongly believe I must do my best to be a positive example of a working mum in a senior management role. I feel that obligation every day.
3. Who is the most inspiring woman you’ve met in the field?
When I was working in South Sudan I remember seeing women doing manual construction work, building houses and roads, with babies strapped to their backs or gently sitting in divets in the construction sand when their mums worked. They illustrated to me the unbelievable power and tenacity of women, and that societies in many parts of the world are wrong to think women are weak or less capable than men. It just isn’t the case.
4. What is one of your proudest professional moments?
Last year I received an award at Action Against Hunger for Outstanding Management and Leadership which was voted for by the staff. I know it is only a small thing, but to feel appreciated by your peers and to know that they think you’re doing a good job felt like a huge validation.
5. International Women’s Day was first marked in 1911 – over 100 years ago. Why do you think the day is still relevant?
Globally, women are still most likely to be affected by disasters, hunger and poverty created by gender inequality. To solve hunger we need to keep tackling these crises with absolute effectiveness. So much is changing for women in my society generation by generation and I have had more opportunities available to me than I would ever have done if I had been born before I was. We must build on this momentum. Every single one of us is an ambassador for change, and International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to remind everyone of the need to keep these changes going.
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